, ,

Part IV

The conformity to the ever blessed Jesus, whereto his defamed servants do and may arrive, should be much in their eye, under the defamations. Looking after an adequate notion o fhonor, I finally determined upon this: All true honor lies in a conformity to the admirable Jesus.

Wherein a man is conformable to the admirable Savior of the world, so far, and no farther, he is an honorable man. Thence I infer, to be defamed may be to be honored. For I am sure the Savior of men was extremely defmed among men; despised and rejected of men. It was foretold of him that he should be spoken against. And it was fulfilled unto extremity: there was not a person in the land so spoken against. Indeed he had some that stood by him, yet there was but some.

we read, John 7:12, “Some said he is a good man. Others said, No, but he deceiveth the people.”

In the vision which the beloved John had of our Savior, we see, Rev. 1:15, “His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace.”  The learned Grellot[1] has a curious thought upon it. Our Savior passed through a burning furnace of afflictions, so that he might come to his glory. Grievous defamations were some of the scorches that afflicted him in that fiery furnace and compelled him to cry out, Psalm 69:19–20

Thou hast known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonour: mine adversaries are all before thee. Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.

He took a friendly notice of some that had not the best reputation; but with no other intention than the charitable one of a physician, intending to recover his patients. For this he was defamed, as familiar friend of wicked people. He compassionately provided a large quantity of wine for the neighbors at a wedding feast: For this he was defamed as a wine-bibber [wino]. He did wonderful things to deliver poor peole form the hands hurts of the evil spirits: He was requited [paid back] with being defamed as one that carried on an unlawful converse with evil spirits.

“No man heard his voice in the streets.”[2] He fled from the very whispers of a temporal kingdom. Yet he was defamed as one that moved sedition. A thief was preferred before him. His own kindred had those among who maltreated him and called him all that was bad. (Mark 3:21) I find by travelers, the Jews to this day make this great offense against him. “He went about doing good.” (Acts 10:38) Yet a great part of mankind conspired for to treat him as an evil doer. Though he could challenge all men living to tax him with the least ill thing, yet he was numbered with the transgressors. (Is. 53:12) He was crucified between two robbers. From when Hierocles, almost three hundred years later, published and fomented a tradition that he was a highway man [robber], the head of a desperate crew of Banditti [bandits]. Thus, a generation of vipers [Luke 3:7], the most remarkable set of the seed of the serpent (Gen. 3:15) that had been in any generation, stung the holy, harmless, undefiled, Jesus! O Disciple, how canst thou propose any other sort of treatment that what thy glorious Lord met withal?[3]

There never can bebetter advice given to. Defamed Christian than that, Hebrews 12:2–3:

Look unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

Accordingly, in the defamations that you suffer, you may very allowably examine, What conformity to the sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ may be discovered.[4]

Indeed, we must with all the contrition & confusion imaginable, make the acknowledgement of the penitent sinner, who was crucified with our Savior:

And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: [Our Lord never did] nothing amiss.

[Luke 23:41] But this does not forbid us poor sinner to consider what there was in the sorrows of our Savior to which anything in our sorrows may be conformable.

It is an observable passage in Col. 1:24, “[I] rejoice in my sufferings [], and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ.” The Greek word used there [ἀνταναπληρῶ] properly signifies the hollow marks and strokes of the seal, which are filled up with wax.

In your defamations you may with out immodesty (but oh! Do it with a very trembling modesty!) observe perhaps the signatures which may, as the wax under the seal, answer something that befell Christ in his afflictions.

[1] I have been unable to track down this “learned” commentator.

[2] Matthew 12:19–21 (AV)

19 He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. 20 A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. 21 And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.

[3] What circumstance could you be in which was worse than what Jesus suffered?

[4] In what way is your suffering similar to his?